April 21, 2020  |  

The Genome of Armadillidium vulgare (Crustacea, Isopoda) Provides Insights into Sex Chromosome Evolution in the Context of Cytoplasmic Sex Determination.

The terrestrial isopod Armadillidium vulgare is an original model to study the evolution of sex determination and symbiosis in animals. Its sex can be determined by ZW sex chromosomes, or by feminizing Wolbachia bacterial endosymbionts. Here, we report the sequence and analysis of the ZW female genome of A. vulgare. A distinguishing feature of the 1.72 gigabase assembly is the abundance of repeats (68% of the genome). We show that the Z and W sex chromosomes are essentially undifferentiated at the molecular level and the W-specific region is extremely small (at most several hundreds of kilobases). Our results suggest that recombination suppression has not spread very far from the sex-determining locus, if at all. This is consistent with A. vulgare possessing evolutionarily young sex chromosomes. We characterized multiple Wolbachia nuclear inserts in the A. vulgare genome, none of which is associated with the W-specific region. We also identified several candidate genes that may be involved in the sex determination or sexual differentiation pathways. The A. vulgare genome serves as a resource for studying the biology and evolution of crustaceans, one of the most speciose and emblematic metazoan groups. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


April 21, 2020  |  

The red bayberry genome and genetic basis of sex determination.

Morella rubra, red bayberry, is an economically important fruit tree in south China. Here, we assembled the first high-quality genome for both a female and a male individual of red bayberry. The genome size was 313-Mb, and 90% sequences were assembled into eight pseudo chromosome molecules, with 32 493 predicted genes. By whole-genome comparison between the female and male and association analysis with sequences of bulked and individual DNA samples from female and male, a 59-Kb region determining female was identified and located on distal end of pseudochromosome 8, which contains abundant transposable element and seven putative genes, four of them are related to sex floral development. This 59-Kb female-specific region was likely to be derived from duplication and rearrangement of paralogous genes and retained non-recombinant in the female-specific region. Sex-specific molecular markers developed from candidate genes co-segregated with sex in a genetically diverse female and male germplasm. We propose sex determination follow the ZW model of female heterogamety. The genome sequence of red bayberry provides a valuable resource for plant sex chromosome evolution and also provides important insights for molecular biology, genetics and modern breeding in Myricaceae family. © 2018 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Construction of a Genomic Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) Library for the Prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii and Initial Analysis of ZW Chromosome-Derived BAC Inserts.

Knowledge on sex determination has proven valuable for commercial production of the prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii due to sex dimorphism of the male and female individuals. Previous studies indicated that prawn sex is determined by a ZW-ZZ chromosomal system, but no genomic information is available for the sex chromosome. Herein, we constructed a genomic bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library and identified the ZW-derived BAC clones for initial analysis of the sex chromosomal DNA sequence. The arrayed BAC library contains 200,448 clones with average insert size of 115.4 kb, corresponding to ~?4× coverage of the estimated 5.38 Gb genome. Based on a short female-specific marker, a Z- and a W-fragment were retrieved with the genomic walking method. Screening the BAC library using a ZW-specific marker as probe resulted in 12 positive clones. From these, a Z-derived (P331M17) and a W-derived (P122G2) BAC clones were randomly selected and sequenced by PacBio method. We report the construction of a large insert, deep-coverage, and high-quality BAC library for M. rosenbergii that provides a useful resource for positional cloning of target genes, genomic organization, and comparative genomics analysis. Our study not only confirmed the ZW/ZZ system but also discovered sex-linked genes on ZW chromosomes for the first time, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the genomic structure of sex chromosomes in M. rosenbergii.


April 21, 2020  |  

Maleness-on-the-Y (MoY) orchestrates male sex determination in major agricultural fruit fly pests.

In insects, rapidly evolving primary sex-determining signals are transduced by a conserved regulatory module controlling sexual differentiation. In the agricultural pest Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean fruit fly, or Medfly), we identified a Y-linked gene, Maleness-on-the-Y (MoY), encoding a small protein that is necessary and sufficient for male development. Silencing or disruption of MoY in XY embryos causes feminization, whereas overexpression of MoY in XX embryos induces masculinization. Crosses between transformed XY females and XX males give rise to males and females, indicating that a Y chromosome can be transmitted by XY females. MoY is Y-linked and functionally conserved in other species of the Tephritidae family, highlighting its potential to serve as a tool for developing more effective control strategies against these major agricultural insect pests.Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.


April 21, 2020  |  

Improvement of the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) reference genome and development of male-specific DNA markers.

The Pacific bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis, is a highly migratory species that is widely distributed in the North Pacific Ocean. Like other marine species, T. orientalis has no external sexual dimorphism; thus, identifying sex-specific variants from whole genome sequence data is a useful approach to develop an effective sex identification method. Here, we report an improved draft genome of T. orientalis and male-specific DNA markers. Combining PacBio long reads and Illumina short reads sufficiently improved genome assembly, with a 38-fold increase in scaffold contiguity (to 444 scaffolds) compared to the first published draft genome. Through analysing re-sequence data of 15 males and 16 females, 250 male-specific SNPs were identified from more than 30 million polymorphisms. All male-specific variants were male-heterozygous, suggesting that T. orientalis has a male heterogametic sex-determination system. The largest linkage disequilibrium block (3,174?bp on scaffold_064) contained 51 male-specific variants. PCR primers and a PCR-based sex identification assay were developed using these male-specific variants. The sex of 115 individuals (56 males and 59 females; sex was diagnosed by visual examination of the gonads) was identified with high accuracy using the assay. This easy, accurate, and practical technique facilitates the control of sex ratios in tuna farms. Furthermore, this method could be used to estimate the sex ratio and/or the sex-specific growth rate of natural populations.


April 21, 2020  |  

DiscoverY: a classifier for identifying Y chromosome sequences in male assemblies.

Although the Y chromosome plays an important role in male sex determination and fertility, it is currently understudied due to its haploid and repetitive nature. Methods to isolate Y-specific contigs from a whole-genome assembly broadly fall into two categories. The first involves retrieving Y-contigs using proportion sharing with a female, but such a strategy is prone to false positives in the absence of a high-quality, complete female reference. A second strategy uses the ratio of depth of coverage from male and female reads to select Y-contigs, but such a method requires high-depth sequencing of a female and cannot utilize existing female references.We develop a k-mer based method called DiscoverY, which combines proportion sharing with female with depth of coverage from male reads to classify contigs as Y-chromosomal. We evaluate the performance of DiscoverY on human and gorilla genomes, across different sequencing platforms including Illumina, 10X, and PacBio. In the cases where the male and female data are of high quality, DiscoverY has a high precision and recall and outperforms existing methods. For cases when a high quality female reference is not available, we quantify the effect of using draft reference or even just raw sequencing reads from a female.DiscoverY is an effective method to isolate Y-specific contigs from a whole-genome assembly. However, regions homologous to the X chromosome remain difficult to detect.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome-wide profiling of the alternative splicing provides insights into development in Plutella xylostella.

The diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella (L.), is a major pest of cruciferous crops worldwide. While the species has become a model for genomics, post-transcriptional mechanisms associated with development and sex determination have not been comprehensively studied and the lack of complete structure of mRNA transcripts limits further research.Here, we combined the methods of single-molecule long-read sequencing technology (IsoSeq) and RNA-seq to re-annotate the published DBM genome and present the genome-wide identification of alternative splicing (AS) associated with development and sex determination of DBM. In total, we identified ~?13,900 genes (~?77%) annotated in the DBM genome (version-2), resulting in the correction of 1586 wrongly annotated genes and identification of 78,000 previously unannotated transcripts. We also identified 1804 genes showing alternative splicing (AS) in each of the developmental stages and sexes, suggesting that AS events are ubiquitous in DBM. Comparative analyses showed that these AS events were rarely shared among developmental stages, indicating that they may play key specific roles in regulation of insect development. Further, we found 156 genes showing different AS events and expression patterns between males and females, linking them to potential functions in sex determination.Overall, the P. xylostella transcriptome provides the significant information about regulatory alternative splicing events, which are shown to be involved in development and sex determination. Our work presents a solid foundation to better understand the mechanism of post-transcriptional regulation, and offers wider insights into insect development and sex determination.


April 21, 2020  |  

Characterization of a male specific region containing a candidate sex determining gene in Atlantic cod.

The genetic mechanisms determining sex in teleost fishes are highly variable and the master sex determining gene has only been identified in few species. Here we characterize a male-specific region of 9?kb on linkage group 11 in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) harboring a single gene named zkY for zinc knuckle on the Y chromosome. Diagnostic PCR test of phenotypically sexed males and females confirm the sex-specific nature of the Y-sequence. We identified twelve highly similar autosomal gene copies of zkY, of which eight code for proteins containing the zinc knuckle motif. 3D modeling suggests that the amino acid changes observed in six copies might influence the putative RNA-binding specificity. Cod zkY and the autosomal proteins zk1 and zk2 possess an identical zinc knuckle structure, but only the Y-specific gene zkY was expressed at high levels in the developing larvae before the onset of sex differentiation. Collectively these data suggest zkY as a candidate master masculinization gene in Atlantic cod. PCR amplification of Y-sequences in Arctic cod (Arctogadus glacialis) and Greenland cod (Gadus macrocephalus ogac) suggests that the male-specific region emerged in codfishes more than 7.5 million years ago.


April 21, 2020  |  

The Y chromosome sequence of the channel catfish suggests novel sex determination mechanisms in teleost fish.

Sex determination mechanisms in teleost fish broadly differ from mammals and birds, with sex chromosomes that are far less differentiated and recombination often occurring along the length of the X and Y chromosomes, posing major challenges for the identification of specific sex determination genes. Here, we take an innovative approach of comparative genome analysis of the genomic sequences of the X chromosome and newly sequenced Y chromosome in the channel catfish.Using a YY channel catfish as the sequencing template, we generated, assembled, and annotated the Y genome sequence of channel catfish. The genome sequence assembly had a contig N50 size of 2.7 Mb and a scaffold N50 size of 26.7 Mb. Genetic linkage and GWAS analyses placed the sex determination locus within a genetic distance less than 0.5?cM and physical distance of 8.9?Mb. However, comparison of the channel catfish X and Y chromosome sequences showed no sex-specific genes. Instead, comparative RNA-Seq analysis between females and males revealed exclusive sex-specific expression of an isoform of the breast cancer anti-resistance 1 (BCAR1) gene in the male during early sex differentiation. Experimental knockout of BCAR1 gene converted genetic males (XY) to phenotypic females, suggesting BCAR1 as a putative sex determination gene.We present the first Y chromosome sequence among teleost fish, and one of the few whole Y chromosome sequences among vertebrate species. Comparative analyses suggest that sex-specific isoform expression through alternative splicing may underlie sex determination processes in the channel catfish, and we identify BCAR1 as a potential sex determination gene.


October 23, 2019  |  

A high quality assembly of the Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) genome reveals the structure of two sex determination regions.

Tilapias are the second most farmed fishes in the world and a sustainable source of food. Like many other fish, tilapias are sexually dimorphic and sex is a commercially important trait in these fish. In this study, we developed a significantly improved assembly of the tilapia genome using the latest genome sequencing methods and show how it improves the characterization of two sex determination regions in two tilapia species.A homozygous clonal XX female Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) was sequenced to 44X coverage using Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) SMRT sequencing. Dozens of candidate de novo assemblies were generated and an optimal assembly (contig NG50 of 3.3Mbp) was selected using principal component analysis of likelihood scores calculated from several paired-end sequencing libraries. Comparison of the new assembly to the previous O. niloticus genome assembly reveals that recently duplicated portions of the genome are now well represented. The overall number of genes in the new assembly increased by 27.3%, including a 67% increase in pseudogenes. The new tilapia genome assembly correctly represents two recent vasa gene duplication events that have been verified with BAC sequencing. At total of 146Mbp of additional transposable element sequence are now assembled, a large proportion of which are recent insertions. Large centromeric satellite repeats are assembled and annotated in cichlid fish for the first time. Finally, the new assembly identifies the long-range structure of both a ~9Mbp XY sex determination region on LG1 in O. niloticus, and a ~50Mbp WZ sex determination region on LG3 in the related species O. aureus.This study highlights the use of long read sequencing to correctly assemble recent duplications and to characterize repeat-filled regions of the genome. The study serves as an example of the need for high quality genome assemblies and provides a framework for identifying sex determining genes in tilapia and related fish species.


September 22, 2019  |  

Anisogamy evolved with a reduced sex-determining region in volvocine green algae

Male and female gametes differing in size—anisogamy—emerged independently from isogamous ancestors in various eukaryotic lineages, although genetic bases of this emergence are still unknown. Volvocine green algae are a model lineage for investigating the transition from isogamy to anisogamy. Here we focus on two closely related volvocine genera that bracket this transition—isogamous Yamagishiella and anisogamous Eudorina. We generated de novo nuclear genome assemblies of both sexes of Yamagishiella and Eudorina to identify the dimorphic sex-determining chromosomal region or mating-type locus (MT) from each. In contrast to the large (>1?Mb) and complex MT of oogamous Volvox, Yamagishiella and Eudorina MT are smaller (7–268?kb) and simpler with only two sex-limited genes—the minus/male-limited MID and the plus/female-limited FUS1. No prominently dimorphic gametologs were identified in either species. Thus, the first step to anisogamy in volvocine algae presumably occurred without an increase in MT size and complexity.


September 22, 2019  |  

A whole genome assembly of the horn fly, Haematobia irritans, and prediction of genes with roles in metabolism and sex determination.

Haematobia irritans, commonly known as the horn fly, is a globally distributed blood-feeding pest of cattle that is responsible for significant economic losses to cattle producers. Chemical insecticides are the primary means for controlling this pest but problems with insecticide resistance have become common in the horn fly. To provide a foundation for identification of genomic loci for insecticide resistance and for discovery of new control technology, we report the sequencing, assembly, and annotation of the horn fly genome. The assembled genome is 1.14 Gb, comprising 76,616 scaffolds with N50 scaffold length of 23 Kb. Using RNA-Seq data, we have predicted 34,413 gene models of which 19,185 have been assigned functional annotations. Comparative genomics analysis with the Dipteran flies Musca domestica L., Drosophila melanogaster, and Lucilia cuprina, show that the horn fly is most closely related to M. domestica, sharing 8,748 orthologous clusters followed by D. melanogaster and L. cuprina, sharing 7,582 and 7,490 orthologous clusters respectively. We also identified a gene locus for the sodium channel protein in which mutations have been previously reported that confers target site resistance to the most common class of pesticides used in fly control. Additionally, we identified 276 genomic loci encoding members of metabolic enzyme gene families such as cytochrome P450s, esterases and glutathione S-transferases, and several genes orthologous to sex determination pathway genes in other Dipteran species. Copyright © 2018 Konganti et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Size and content of the sex-determining region of the Y chromosome in dioecious Mercurialis annua, a plant with homomorphic sex chromosomes.

Dioecious plants vary in whether their sex chromosomes are heteromorphic or homomorphic, but even homomorphic sex chromosomes may show divergence between homologues in the non-recombining, sex-determining region (SDR). Very little is known about the SDR of these species, which might represent particularly early stages of sex-chromosome evolution. Here, we assess the size and content of the SDR of the diploid dioecious herb Mercurialis annua, a species with homomorphic sex chromosomes and mild Y-chromosome degeneration. We used RNA sequencing (RNAseq) to identify new Y-linked markers for M. annua. Twelve of 24 transcripts showing male-specific expression in a previous experiment could be amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) only from males, and are thus likely to be Y-linked. Analysis of genome-capture data from multiple populations of M. annua pointed to an additional six male-limited (and thus Y-linked) sequences. We used these markers to identify and sequence 17 sex-linked bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs), which form 11 groups of non-overlapping sequences, covering a total sequence length of about 1.5 Mb. Content analysis of this region suggests that it is enriched for repeats, has low gene density, and contains few candidate sex-determining genes. The BACs map to a subset of the sex-linked region of the genetic map, which we estimate to be at least 14.5 Mb. This is substantially larger than estimates for other dioecious plants with homomorphic sex chromosomes, both in absolute terms and relative to their genome sizes. Our data provide a rare, high-resolution view of the homomorphic Y chromosome of a dioecious plant.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genus-wide sequencing supports a two-locus model for sex-determination in Phoenix.

The date palm tree is a commercially important member of the genus Phoenix whose 14 species are dioecious with separate male and female individuals. To identify sex determining genes we sequenced the genomes of 15 female and 13 male Phoenix trees representing all 14 species. We identified male-specific sequences and extended them using phased single-molecule sequencing or BAC clones. We observed that only four genes contained sequences conserved in all analyzed Phoenix males. Most of these sequences showed similarity to a single genomic locus in the closely related monoecious oil palm. CYP703 and GPAT3, two single copy genes present in males and critical for male flower development in other monocots, were absent in females. A LOG-like gene appears translocated into the Y-linked region and is suggested to play a role in suppressing female flowers. Our data are consistent with a two-mutation model for the evolution of dioecy in Phoenix.


September 22, 2019  |  

Development and validation of 58K SNP-array and high-density linkage map in Nile tilapia (O. niloticus).

Despite being the second most important aquaculture species in the world accounting for 7.4% of global production in 2015, tilapia aquaculture has lacked genomic tools like SNP-arrays and high-density linkage maps to improve selection accuracy and accelerate genetic progress. In this paper, we describe the development of a genotyping array containing more than 58,000 SNPs for Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). SNPs were identified from whole genome resequencing of 32 individuals from the commercial population of the Genomar strain, and were selected for the SNP-array based on polymorphic information content and physical distribution across the genome using the Orenil1.1 genome assembly as reference sequence. SNP-performance was evaluated by genotyping 4991 individuals, including 689 offspring belonging to 41 full-sib families, which revealed high-quality genotype data for 43,588 SNPs. A preliminary genetic linkage map was constructed using Lepmap2 which in turn was integrated with information from the O_niloticus_UMD1 genome assembly to produce an integrated physical and genetic linkage map comprising 40,186 SNPs distributed across 22 linkage groups (LGs). Around one-third of the LGs showed a different recombination rate between sexes, with the female being greater than the male map by a factor of 1.2 (1632.9 to 1359.6 cM, respectively), with most LGs displaying a sigmoid recombination profile. Finally, the sex-determining locus was mapped to position 40.53 cM on LG23, in the vicinity of the anti-Müllerian hormone (amh) gene. These new resources has the potential to greatly influence and improve the genetic gain when applying genomic selection and surpass the difficulties of efficient selection for invasively measured traits in Nile tilapia.


Talk with an expert

If you have a question, need to check the status of an order, or are interested in purchasing an instrument, we're here to help.